Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is refers to conditions affecting the heart’s functions. The conditions consist of blocked blood vessels, heart muscle damages, abnormal heart beat and heart valve problems. The consequences of these conditions are heart attacks, chest pain or stroke.
Let’s take a deeper look into some common heart disease types like Coronary Heart Disease, Arrhythmia, Stroke and Heart Failure.
Coronary heart disease is also known as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). An artery refers to blood vessels responsible for supplying blood from the heart to the rest of the body. CAD develops when artery has become narrowed, hardened or damaged. Narrow arteries are caused mainly due to fats such as cholesterol and other substances built up on artery walls. After constant building-up of plaque, the arteries narrow or become totally blocked. If the built-up plaque ruptures, the body works to fix the rupture, which forms a clot which may further block the artery as well. Typical complications of CAD are chest pain, heart attack, heart failure and abnormal heartbeat.
Irregular heartbeat is known medically as arrythmia. The heart sends blood to the rest of the body with every heartbeat. Having and irregular heartbeat can be dangerous as it can lead to stroke or sudden death. When the heart is unable to send oxygenated blood out to the rest of the body during certain dangerous types of irregular heartbeat, it might cause the person to experience sudden death as there is no blood supply to the vital organs like the brain, kidney, liver and lung during these types of irregular heartbeat.
Stroke occurs when blood fails to oxygenate the brain and brain cells begin to die due to lack of oxygen. One of the common types of stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. This type of stroke is called ischemic stroke. A common root cause of why blood clot formed and plugs blood vessel is due one type of arrhythmia (discussed previously) called Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). That’s why A-Fib is culprit of ischemic stroke.
Heart failure refers to the heart’s inability to pump at full capacity to meet the demands of the body for oxygen and nutrients. This typically results from conditions that have weakened the heart’s muscles. Heart failure can affect both sides of the heart but typically begins on the left side as the left ventricle is the main pumping chamber. Symptoms of heart failure commonly include shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, and leg swelling.
Cardiovascular Disease in Singapore
In 2018, cardiovascular disease was responsible for 29.2% of all deaths in Singapore. Almost 1 in 3 deaths are due to cardiovascular disease, claiming the lives of 17 people each day in Singapore alone. Thus, we must educate ourselves on the effects of cardiovascular disease, risk factors that put us at higher risk, treatment available and also how to monitor our own health at home.